The Expert’s Guide to World Cruises – Costs, Itineraries, Ships, Tips, and More

In our expert's guide to world cruises, we discuss the costs, itineraries, ships, tips, and more to help you decide if one is right for you.

The Expert's Guide to World Cruises

World cruises have long been a huge bucket-list item for travelers who want to visit many cities and countries in a seamless and comfortable way. Visiting multiple continents and dozens of ports while only unpacking once sounds like a far-fetched idea, but that’s exactly the opportunity that a world cruise affords.

Here, we have a full guide to world cruises including how long they are, where they go, how much they cost, and lists of world cruises departing in 2024 and 2025.

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The Expert’s Guide to World Cruises – Costs, Itineraries, Ships, Tips, and More

What is a world cruise?

When you think about a traditional cruise, you would typically think of a week-long voyage to a specific region like the Caribbean, Alaska, or Mediterranean. Maybe a short weekend getaway to a place like the Bahamas, or perhaps a 10+ day adventure through the Panama Canal or to Hawaii.

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The vast majority of cruises are two weeks or less — getaways that most people with typical careers can easily take with some of their designated vacation time.

But what if you want to go all-out with your top bucket list trip, sailing on the sea and visiting dozens of ports for months on end? This is where world cruises come in. A world cruise is a months-long sailing that visits dozens of ports across multiple continents. Certainly not for everyone, world cruises tend to attract mostly retired travelers and those who can work remotely via the ship’s wifi.

Cruise lines usually deploy their smaller, older vessels for the task because these types of voyages are much more about the itinerary than the ship (therefore not as many flashy, new amenities on the ship are needed). And a smaller vessel means fewer guests and an easier time getting around — very helpful for a sailing that skews much older than the typical cruise passenger demographic.

Plus, these smaller ships can also visit more remote ports of call that can not accommodate larger vessels.

How long are world cruises?

A cruise typically isn’t billed as a full “world cruise” unless it’s at least a couple months long. The majority of world cruises range from 90 to 150 days. Though, it’s common to find some that are shorter or longer as well.

When searching for a world cruise, you may notice that there are many itineraries that are shorter than two months… and some that may even be shorter than one month. This brings us to a great option for sampling a world cruise without the full time and cost commitment: world cruise segments.

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These shorter segments offer a portion of the world cruise itinerary and experience to more people and often attract a bit more of a diverse crowd. You won’t find every world cruise divided into segments, but many do have them as a booking option.

These segments typically focus on one region/continent. For example, if a 100+ day world cruise is traversing northern Europe, the Mediterranean, Asia, and the South Pacific, there may also be segmented booking options for each of those regions.

If you really want to visit lots of ports in Asia and spend many weeks on a cruise ship doing so, you can look into boarding the ship just for the Asia segment of the world cruise.

This is a great option for those who want a taste of a world cruise without committing to the entire trip.

Where do world cruises go?

Where cruise ships can go, world cruises can (and pretty much will) go. Each world cruise is different. The exact itinerary is dependent entirely on the cruise line operating it, with considerations including the ship, its size, and environmental limitations; which destinations the cruise line’s guests most desire; costs and time constraints; as well as other factors.

To put it simply, if there’s a region you want to visit where there are facilities for cruise ships, chances are you’ll be able to find a world cruise that includes it. Some of the most popular places featured on world cruises are the Mediterranean, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, Asia, Australia, South America, Northern Europe, and the Panama Canal. Some also include visits to Antarctica.

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Which cruise lines offer world cruises?

You may be surprised to learn that there are actually quite a few cruise lines that operate world cruises. If you’re loyal to a specific line, it’s worth keeping an eye out if you’re interested in their longest sailings.

Mainstream cruise lines that offer world cruises include Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, P&O Cruises, Costa Cruises, and AIDA Cruises. Even Royal Caribbean has gotten into the game, as it’s currently operating its first-ever world cruise aboard Serenade of the Seas.

More premium and luxury lines tend to offer world cruises than mainstream ones. These include Azamara, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Viking, Silversea Cruises, and Seabourn.

British line Cunard also offers world cruises, including a 111-night one in 2025 that breaks the mold with its newest upcoming ship, Queen Anne, embarking on the adventure rather than an older ship.

Cunard Names New Ship Queen Anne

How much does a world cruise cost?

The cost of a world cruise depends heavily on a few main factors: the cruise line, the length of the voyage, and the type of accommodation you choose. For the cheapest cabin on a mainstream or premium cruise line, expect to pay somewhere between $10,000 and $30,000 for the base fare per person. This means an interior stateroom with no windows or balcony. For an oceanview, balcony, or suite, the price goes up from there.

For a luxury cruise line, expect to pay between $30,000 and $125,000 per person for the cheapest cabin. This could be an interior, but many luxury ships are balcony or suite-only, so that would be the cheapest/lowest option.

Viking Penthouse veranda stateroom review

Here’s a tip: if you’re looking for the best deal on a world cruise, go to a cruise aggregate website that allows you to search for a cruise from many different cruise lines. You’ll be able to sort based on your preferences and see options from mainstream to luxury all in one place.

Once there, narrow your preferences to ‘world cruise’ and then sort by ‘price per night, low to high.’ is a great place to do this. Keep in mind, though, that different cruise lines include different extras and amenities on their world cruises, so look into what’s included in the fare to help determine the value.

What’s included on world cruises?

Since we’re on the topic, you may be wondering what’s usually included in the base fare on a world cruise. It might be a pleasant surprise to learn that pretty much all world cruises include more in the fare than you’d get taking a regular cruise with the same company.

Each line varies slightly in their inclusions, but in general you can expect your world cruise fare to include these extras on top of what’s usually included in a mainstream cruise:

  • Airfare to and from the cruise homeport (often in business class)
  • A pre-cruise hotel stay and gala
  • Transfers between the airport, hotel, and ship
  • Laundry service and/or free use of self-service launderettes
  • WiFi package
  • Beverage package
Cruise Shore Excursions

Some world cruises even include shore excursions, which can be an enormous added value for those who like to take tours and do organized activities while in port.

Are world cruises worth it?

Asking whether a world cruise is worth it is highly subjective. First of all, you’re likely asking whether it’s worth the cost and/or time commitment. And like with most vacation bookings and extras, whether or not it’s worth it is entirely up to you.

The majority of people — and even many die-hard cruisers — are not willing to part with such a large amount of money at once for a trip. Although it is the adventure of a lifetime, it’s certainly not necessary to see different parts of the world. Along the same lines, many people flat-out can’t quit their jobs or work remotely, and not many have enough vacation time to take off work for several months in a row.

But if your situation is such that you can afford it both in terms of money and time, sit down with a digital spreadsheet or piece of paper and do the math to determine the price per night for the world cruises you’re interested in. Also, think about your everyday situation and determine if it would be feasible for you to leave your home, family/friends, etc. for an extended period of time.

Top Cruise Destinations

If it doesn’t work now, consider whether you could do a world cruise a few years down the road. There are lots of considerations to be made when it comes to taking a very extended trip that could easily cost a good chunk of a year’s salary (or more!).

If the time commitment isn’t an issue and you see the value for the cost, it’s worth it to you… and that’s what matters most.

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World Cruises Sailing in 2024

Here’s a list of world cruises that are departing in 2024:

Holland America

  • 43-night Grand World Voyage on Zuiderdam from Honolulu to Singapore departing February 8th

Princess Cruises

  • 110-day World Cruise on Coral Princess (with segments available)
    • Roundtrip from Auckland on April 26th
    • Roundtrip from Sydney on April 30th
    • Roundtrip from Brisbane on May 2nd

Costa Cruises

  • World Tour on Costa Deliziosa
    • 130 nights roundtrip from Trieste on December 7th
    • 122 nights roundtrip from Rome on December 11th
    • 120 nights roundtrip from Savona on December 12th
    • 118 nights roundtrip from Marseille on December 13th
    • 116 nights roundtrip from Barcelona on December 14th

AIDA Cruises

  • 117-night World Cruise on AIDAsol roundtrip from Hamburg departing on October 23rd (with segments available)

Crystal Cruises

  • World Voyage on Crystal Serenity
    • 125 nights from San Diego to Miami on February 3rd
    • 141 nights roundtrip from San Diego on February 3rd
  • 42-night Grand Journey on Crystal Serenity from Vancouver to Quebec City departing August 13th


  • 123-night World Voyage on Queen Mary 2 roundtrip from New York City, departed on January 3rd (with segments available)
  • 107-night World Voyage on Queen Victoria roundtrip from Southampton, departed on January 11th (with segments available)

Oceania Cruises

  • 51-night Epic Northern Hemisphere on Insignia roundtrip from New York City departing July 12th
  • 79-night Ultimate Pacific Traveler on Regatta from Los Angeles to Sydney departing October 3rd

P&O Cruises

  • 99-night Western Circumnavigation on Arcadia roundtrip from Southampton, departed January 6th


  • 116-night World Cruise on Seabourn Sojourn from Auckland to Piraeus (Athens) departing February 10th (with segments available)
Seabourn 2023 Alaska and Canada/New England Voyages Now Open for Sale


  • Viking World Voyage on Viking Sky departing December 19th:
    • 137 nights from Fort Lauderdale to Greenwich
    • 179 nights from Fort Lauderdale to New York City
  • 61-night Longitudinal World Cruise on Viking Polaris from Milwaukee to Ushuaia departing October 1st

World Cruises Sailing in 2025

Here’s a list of world cruises that are departing in 2025:

Holland America

  • 124-night Grand World Voyage on Zuiderdam roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale departing January 4th
  • 133-night Grand Voyage 2025: Pole to Pole on Volendam roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale departing on January 25th

MSC Cruises

  • 116-night World Voyage on MSC Magnifica
    • Roundtrip from Rome on January 4th
    • Roundtrip from Genoa on January 5th
    • Roundtrip from Marseille on January 6th
    • Roundtrip from Barcelona on January 7th

Princess Cruises

  • 116-day World Cruise on Island Princess (with segments available)
    • Roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on January 5th
    • Roundtrip from Los Angeles on January 20th
  • 113-day World Cruise on Crown Princess (with segments available)
    • Roundtrip from Auckland on May 31st
    • Roundtrip from Sydney on June 4th
    • Roundtrip from Brisbane on June 6th


  • 155-night World Voyage on Azamara Onward from San Diego to Southampton departing January 6th

Crystal Cruises

  • 123-night World Voyage on Crystal Serenity from Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona departing January 7th


  • Maiden World Voyage on Queen Anne (additional segment available)
    • 111 nights roundtrip from Hamburg on January 7th
    • 107 nights roundtrip from Southampton on January 9th

Oceania Cruises

  • Departing January 5th on Insignia:
    • 196-night Global Horizons roundtrip from Miami
    • 180-night Around the World in 180 Days from Miami to San Diego
    • 200-night Kaleidoscope of Your World from Miami to New York City
  • 111-night Epic Continental Explorer on Nautica from Papeete to Barcelona departing on February 25th

P&O Cruises

  • 99-night Western Circumnavigation on Arcadia roundtrip from Southampton departing January 3rd

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

  • Navigate the World Away in Wonder on Seven Seas Mariner departing January 7th:
    • 150 nights from Miami to San Francisco
    • 168 nights roundtrip from Miami
  • 116-night Grand Cultural Quest on Seven Seas Mariner from New York City to Barcelona departing July 10th (with a segment available)
  • 84-night Grand Continental Sojourn on Seven Seas Navigator from Barcelona to Sydney departing October 31st

Silversea Cruises

  • 136-night Controtrempo World Voyage on Silver Dawn from Tokyo to New York City departing January 13th
  • 83-night Grand North Atlantic & Northern Europe on Silver Shadow roundtrip from New York City departing June 11th


  • Departing January 5th on Viking Sky:
    • 120-night Viking World Journeys from Los Angeles to Greenwich
    • 162-night Viking World Voyage from Los Angeles to New York City
  • 68-night Longitudinal World Cruise on Viking Octantis from Buenos Aires to Mikwaukee departing on February 20th
  • 61-night Longitudinal World Cruise on Viking Polaris from Milwaukee to Ushuaia departing September 15th


What’s your take on world cruises? If time and finances allowed, would you book one of these extended voyages? Drop us an anchor below to share your bucket list cruise destinations.

Sarah has been writing about the cruise industry since 2015, and in that time has taken a dozen cruises and counting. Her favorite onboard activities include trying the casual dining options, spending time in the spa’s thermal suite, and attending the love & marriage show. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @IAmSarahJaneB.
Sarah Bretz, Contributor
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  1. What I like best is to prioritize refundable fares whenever possible a small world cup. This means we will get your deposit back if unforeseen circumstances force you to cancel before the final payment.

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